The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce has called on Executive to implement special measures that will help businesses survive the COVID-19 crisis.
Chamber President Redmond McFadden has signed a joint letter to the First and deputy First Ministers, along with other Chambers of Commerce and trade organisations, calling for special measures to be implemented swiftly.
The letter outlined serious concerns voiced by businesses across Northern Ireland to the rapid development of COVID-19 and the need for leadership to be shown to help mitigate against far-reaching impacts.
Reacting to recent developments, Chamber President Redmond McFadden said: “Events around COVID-19 have completely overtaken everyone in the past few days and we are now at a point where serious and quick decisions need to be taken. We have already seen many businesses take the decision to close their doors until this is over, and others are seeing huge drops in customers numbers and trading.”
“It is now vital that the Executive talk to business leaders and agree a package of special measures that will help offset the enormous challenges COVID-19 presents. Businesses now need to see certain measures adopted, for example the rates exemptions that are being implemented in England, Scotland and Wales for businesses there.”
“In addition, our proximity to the border, the primacy of cross-border trade and travel, and the fact that Donegal in the Republic of Ireland has received different government advice from Northern Ireland means businesses here need more support and guidance from the Executive. Peripheral regional economies like the North West will feel the impact more acutely and are likely to face slower recovery.”
“We would like to pay tribute to our members and local businesses who are serving the public in so many ways during these uncertain times. Those in the retail sector we know have been faced with huge volumes of people and increased demand for certain goods in recent days.”
“We would also would urge any of our members, or indeed business working in the North West region, to please contact our office if they need help. We are available and ready to give advice, guidance and support to those who need it.”